Strength in numbers – mass display of Iranian attack boats

Photo: Fars News Agency

In an unprecedented show of strength, Iran’s Islamic Republican Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) has put on a display of what an IRGCN spokesperson said were 340 recently delivered fast attack craft (FAC).

This vast display, which took place last February 8 at Bandar Abbas, featured a number of different classes of FAC, including C-14 and Kashdom catamarans, and at least one North Korean-built Taedong-B semi-submersible craft. The event coincided with the 42nd anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution.

Of particular interest to analysts was a derivative of the 70-knot British Bladerunnner powerboat, armed with small anti-shipping cruise missiles. Iran is known to have covertly obtained a Bladerunner, probably via the UAE, around 2010, and the IRGCN has been operating reverse engineered versions, equipped with unguided rockets, for some years.

Also on display were a large number of Ababil unmanned aerial vehicles. Recent reports indicate that modern IRGCN asymmetrical warfare doctrine includes the deployment of drone swarms in coordination with mass FAC attacks on hostile vessels.